The Corner

It’s Dead

A reporter e-mails to dissent from my Senate Guy this morning:

I have to disagree with the Senate aide quoted in your posting. While Reid could indeed bring the bill back up if he wanted to, I seriously doubt he will. When it comes right down to it Reid is much more of a partisan Democrat than a liberal ideologue. He just doesn’t want to do anything that Bush could claim as a victory, even something that would otherwise be a win for the left.

Generally overlooked in the debate was that Reid himself never endorsed the Kennedy-McCain bill. At best he damned it with faint praise. This is in sharp contrast to Kennedy who is an ideologue before he is a partisan. He genuinely wanted this bill to pass even if it meant allowing Bush and McCain to get some credit. (A small price to pay Kennedy probably thought.)

You had to actually be at the press conference Reid, Durbin and others held yesterday afternoon on the cloture votes. It was entirely about blaming Bush for the bill’s stalling and calling him a failure hours before the final cloture vote had actually been held. When a few pesky reporters pointed out that Reid allowed a second vote on a Dorgan amendment that turned the tide against bill and that McConnell said that all they needed was more time to debate amendments, Reid snapped at the reporters.

Reid just didn’t respond to questions about whether he would ever bring the immigration bill up again or why not. He actually argued that a censure vote on AG Gonzales was a more urgent matter for the nation. When another reporter pressed him on Democrats opposed to cloture he cut the person off: “Let’s not focus on Democrats,” Reid said.

In holding the cloture vote yesterday afternoon, Reid picked the best circumstances to kill the bill: After the debate had gone on long enough but before many of the fence-sitters had made up their minds. If Reid had waited any longer the bill’s backers might have been able to corral a few senators put off by this or that amendment and get a narrow win.